Ever since Irja Auroora´s debut concert in Helsinki, Finland, at 20 years of age, reviews abroad and at home have described her soprano voice as beautiful and versatile while praising her musical interpretation. Irja Auroora was born in Northern Finland, where she initially studied piano. When a student at the Turku Conservatory she sang with the Turku Philharmonic conducted by the legendary Paavo Berglund.
At the age of 16 she participated in a singing competition in Turku and was awarded the 1st prize. As a teenager she also participated in the Scandinavian Competition in Bergen, Norway, and in the Lappeenranta Competition in Finland and was awarded the second prize in both.
The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture gave her full scholarships for two consecutive years for her studies in Vienna. Before going to Vienna to complete diploma studies in opera, Lied and oratorio at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien, she sang a successful debut concert in Helsinki, in 1969.
As a student Irja Auroora also appeared on Austrian television in Heinz Fischer-Karwin´s program IHR AUFTRITT, BITTE. For the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE she recorded Fiordiligi in Mozart’s COSI FAN TUTTE singing with Jorma Hynninen and Kim Borg.
Her studies in Lied repertory were with Kammersänger Anton Dermota in Wien and with Professor Lore Ficher in Stuttgart. She studied voice with Kammersängerin Maria Sandulesco in Bremen, Professor Vera Rosza in London and Hildegund Lohmann in Wiesbaden. Italian opera repertoire she studied in Rome with Maestro Luigi Ricci.
Irja Auroora made her professional operatic debut as Micaëla in CARMEN (with Mingon Dunn and Sandor Konya) in the production of the Finnish National Opera at the Helsinki Opera Festival 1971. After that she was engaged as a permanent member of the ensemble of the Staatstheater Darmstadt in Germany, singing there, among other roles, Fiordiligi (COSI FAN TUTTE) and Marenka (THE BARTERED BRIDE). After Darmstadt, she joined the ensemble of the Theater der Freien Hansestadt Bremen singing there many opera roles including those of Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Giordano, Wagner and Janáček. At the Bremer Festliche Opernabende in Bremen she appeared as the TROVATORE Leonora with Fiorenza Cossotto and Juan Lloverras.
In the 100th anniversary of the RING cycle in Bayreuth in 1976, she sang Gutrune in GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG conducted by Pierre Boulez and directed by Patrice Chéreau. In the same production she also appeared as Ortlinde in WALKÜRE. In addition, she sang Erste Blumenmädchen in PARSIFAL 1975- 1976 and Ortlinde in WALKÜRE 1975, productions conducted by Horst Stein and directed by Wolfgang Wagner.
The Finnish National Opera cast her to sing Tatyana in Tchaikovsky´s EUGENE ONEGIN, in 1984, and Anna in Sallinen´s RATSUMIES (The Horseman), in 1987. Auroora has also made guest appearances e.g. in opera houses of Dortmund, Bremerhaven, St. Gallen and Saarbrücken singing there Gutrune in Wagner´s GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG, the title role in ARABELLA of R. Strauss and Senta in Wagner´s DER FLIEGENDE Holländer among others.
Irja Auroora has worked with conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Horst Stein, Gerd Albrecht, Marek Janowsky, Wolfgang Gönnenwein, Christof Perick, Paavo Berglund, Leif Segerstam, Ulf Söderblom, Okko Kamu, Osmo Vänskä, Eri Klas and Sergiu Comissiona.
She has sung as a soloist in many remarkable orchestra concerts. At the Salzburg Festival she appeared with the ORF Radio-Symfonieorchester Wien under the baton of Gerd Albrecht in Honegger´s JEANNE d´ARC, in 1977. She has also appeared at the Ludwigsburger Schlosssfestspiele in Stuttgart with the Orchester der Ludwigsburger Festspiele under the baton of Wolfgang Gönnenwein. At the Saint -Denis Festival in Paris and in Bremen with the Bremer Philharmonie, in Ludwigshaven with the Sinfonieorchester der Stadt Ludwigshaven and at other European music centers, she has sung as a soloist in concerts including performances of Beethoven´s MISSA SOLEMNIS and Britten´s WAR REQUIEM.
The Finnish Radio Orchestra and the Helsinki Philharmonic invited her to sing as a soloist in Helsinki in Verdi´s REQUIEM, Klami´s PSALMUS, Mahler´s 4th SYMPHONY, Górecki´s AD MATREM and Merikanto´s ELINAN SURMA (Elina´s Death) among others. Finland´s other leading symphony orchestras, e.g. the Turku Philharmonic, the Oulu Sinfonia and the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, have also invited her to sing in their concerts.
Irja Auroora is a recognized recitalist. She has given Lied recitals in Helsinki, also for the Helsinki Festival and Turku Festivals, as well as throughout Finland. Lied recordings and live studio concerts she has sung e.g. for the Finnish (Yle), German (NDR) and Swedish (Sveriges Radio) Broadcasting companies. The great Finnish pianist Pentti Koskimies was her accompanist since her debut concert until his death.
She has recorded Lied CDs for the labels Fuga (Enchantment of Singing, 2004) and for Fg-Naxos (Solo CD Irja Auroora, pianist Ilkka Paananen, 1991). The singer’s latest CD Träume Dreams Unelmia (2022) was released to honour the 50th anniversary of Irja Auroora’s singing career (www.fuga.fi).
A video interview with photos and vocal recordings of her has also been released on YouTube (2023). See Audio site.
As a singing pedagogue, Irja Auroora has worked e.g. at the Sibelius Academy and numerous singing summer courses. She also gives master classes for Lied and opera and works as Opera Coach for singers.